In 2009, Dave Sweeny, Michael Ovens, Erin George, and Martin de Sousa came together to develop a new way to raise funds in the fight against blindness. Their vision became a reality when, along with 45 other riders, they hit the road on a rainy day in Toronto for the first Cycle for Sight. That inaugural event raised almost $46,000 for the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) and encouraged new supporters to get involved.
Fast forward to 2018 and Cycle for Sight is now in its 10th year. It has grown to become a national, signature fundraiser for the FFB, with six events taking place across the country. Most astonishingly, its participants have ridden over 290,000 km and surpassed $4.5 million in funds raised for vision research.
Research and discoveries in vision science have come a long way since that small group of cyclists headed out in 2009.
For example: In 2014, the Bionic eye was brought to Canada and has since restored vision to people who were completely blind, including two of our very own Cycle for Sight riders, Rozina and Orly.
An FDA-approved ocular gene therapy has emerged in the United States and there are now more than 30 gene therapy clinical trials underway that are testing new sight-saving treatments.
As a result of these and other incredible advancements, the idea that inherited vision loss is untreatable is beginning to shift. We know that treatments are beginning to materialize, and we know that there are big discoveries and life-changing developments on the horizon. This is all made possible by the generous supporters of the FFB and the heroes who participate in Cycle for Sight.
Check out the links below for more information on Cycle for Sight events taking place across the country:
West Coast (Langely, BC) – June 2 – Raised a record-breaking $180,000
Toronto (Creemore, ON) – June 23 – Raised $280,000 and counting…
Newfoundland (St. John’s, NL) – August 12
Ottawa (Carp, ON) – August 19
Alberta (Edmonton & Calgary, AB) – September 15